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Congratulating Valora on an Exciting New Chapter | by Rene Reinsberg | The Celo Blog | Jul, 2021

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Today is a big day: Valora has announced it is becoming an independent, standalone company, with Jackie Bona — who most recently served as cLabs’ Head of Consumer Growth for Valora — as the Chief Executive Officer. I’m also excited to share the news that Valora has raised a $20 million Series A round to help fuel the company’s growth. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from other world-class investors including Polychain, NFX, Nima Capital, SV Angel, Valor Capital, among others. Prominent angel investors and founders including April Underwood, Jon Stein, Ruzwana Bashir, and Alex Roetter also participated.

Jackie is joined by Celo co-founder Marek Olszewski, who will be taking on the role as President, as well as Silas Boyd-Wickizer, who recently joined as Chief Technology Officer. They’ll lead the founding team that’s overseen Valora from inception to launch. With backgrounds spanning blockchain, consumer tech, financial services, and deep expertise in bringing products to market internationally, I can’t think of a better team to build on Valora’s initial success.

When the cLabs team officially launched Valora in February of this year, the app had been four years in the making. In fact, we started building the initial concept for Valora in tandem with the Celo blockchain. With the early version of Valora, we set out to make cryptocurrency accessible and easy to use for global payments and other everyday use cases — all with a single app. It was an ambitious goal that challenged us to think about how we could simplify the pain points associated with using cryptocurrencies. That led ultimately to developing Celo’s key differentiators, which are fully utilized within Valora today: the ability to send crypto/funds to any mobile phone number in the world, replacing long public keys with just your phone number, and the ability to pay transaction fees with the same stablecoin.

At launch, the immediate uptick in adoption far exceeded what we had hoped for. Now, Valora has 200K users with a balance and 53K monthly active users in more than 100 countries. At the same time, Celo has also grown, with a fully diluted market cap of $3.7 billion, and a DeFi ecosystem of developers building on the platform — all of whom are now using Valora as an entry point for people to access decentralized financial apps and services.

The power of Valora is already recognized by tens of thousands of people around the world, many of whom are first-time crypto wallet users. Take for example international non-profit organizations like our partners at the Grameen Foundation, which used Valora to deliver secure, efficient relief aid during the pandemic; the micro-work pilot we held in Kenya, where young adults helped categorize data on their mobile devices and were paid in Celo Dollars; or the team at ImpactMarket that’s been using Valora to distribute millions in cash aid to over 18,000 beneficiaries in countries such as Brazil, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and the Philippines.

I’m proud to see such strong initial adoption of Valora in the real world. More than ever, I’m excited by the opportunities for the team to evolve Valora’s intuitive, user-friendly product and to develop the education programs necessary that will get more people comfortable using cryptocurrencies to save, send, and spend. Join us in congratulating the Valora team on their continued success!

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